Solo news 25 July

Mark Ampleford offered to share his thoughts on some basic upwind tactics.  Itís great to share ideas or just to hear them expressed and explained by someone else.  This is pretty much what I do as well.

Gareth

 

Tactical Rules of Thumb for Upwind Sailing

The below rules of thumb help me tactically in boat on boat situations. I have presumed people are already at the stage of recognizing wind shifts and attempting to tack on shifts staying on the lifted tack. They are particularly useful on a shifty lake like Island Barn where there are big gains to be made and lost upwind.

 

∑         Cross them if you can

∑         Donít let them cross you

∑         Get on the inside of lifts and outside of knocks

∑         At leeward mark know if you are lifted or knocked

 

Explained in more detail

 

∑         Cross them if you can

If you can suddenly cross a rival who was ahead (i.e. sail past them ahead on opposite tacks) do so. This opportunity to cross means you have been headed, they have been headed or you have both been headed. There is a lift for you on offer to you on the other tack. You should react to this shift before it reverts. You should also bank the benefit you have before something else happens. Getting yourself between your rival and the windward mark will give you a safe lead. You often hear, ďfor a minute there I looked like I was in the leadĒ. If you tack and bank the benefit your advantage will last.

 

∑         Donít let them cross you

This is a simple reversal of the above rule of thumb. If a rival has a shift that will allow them to tack and cross you, you should tack at the same time not allowing them to bank the benefit they have gained. Hopefully the shift will head back and you can reverse the order again before they have crossed you and sit firmly between you and the windward mark with a safe lead.

 

∑         Get on the inside of lifts and outside of knocks

In club racing there is nearly always a fleet of boats up the course. You can see shifts hitting other boats before they get to you. Clearly this info is of no use if you do not use it. If a port header is coming head left until it hits you. You will then be on the inside of the lift when you tack onto starboard and gain handsomely on boats to the right of the beat. If you are on a tack that is to be knocked it will pay to sail a little freer than rivals below you to lose some height and gain some speed over them. If you donít do that they may well be able to cross you when the shift hits.

 

∑         At leeward mark know if you are lifted or knocked

This is less about boat on boat tactics but is an easy 2-3 boat lengths that most people miss out on. A lot of sailors spend an entire beat focussing on whether they are on the lifted tack but on starting the next beat have no clue until the first shift hits Ė if it is a lift you could have been on the other tack getting on the inside of it.... Various clues can be gained by looking at the angle sailed by boats ahead, using a compass, noticing if the reach or run was freer or tighter at the end of the leg than the beginning of the leg (or the last lap). You can use these to help establish an opinion. Be careful though, it may be worthwhile sailing on a header for a little while if there is a lot of traffic coming down the run causing a wind-shadow or obstruction.

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In other news weíve completed the spring series and are now into summer Ė indeed I am looking out of my window at the ballooning thunder clouds and watching the lightning. Final (I think) places for the spring series are on the web.

 

1. Gareth

2. Mervyn

3. Peter C

Paul probably would have featured but he flew the flag for us at a few Open Meetings so missed out on a few results.

Meanwhile in the personal series, which will go on through Oct, Ian Peace is just ahead Ė but there are only three points between 1st and 6th. As a reminder I only count personal results when the conditions are suitable and there is a decent turnout (and the RO gets the times Ė so never on pursuit days).  Iím afraid thatís just my judgement but it is showing how the fleet is closing up.

 

Gareth